In November, 2010 at the Kremlin Palace in Moscow, Vietnamese translator Thuy Toan and 11 other people were awarded the Friendship Order, the Russian noble prize, by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.
At the Kremlin Palace, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev awards the Friendship Order to Vietnamese translator Thuy Toan.
This news brought joy to literary translators in Vietnam, and especially to Thuy Toan who is considered an important bridge linking Vietnamese and Russian literature.
Since his first translation of a short story for children in 1956, Thuy Toan has been attached to translation for 50 years. He has translated 50 books, including 10 collections of poems, which total thousands of Russian poems.
Many of them are renowned
“I love you” (by Puskin) and “Wait for me” (by Simonov) which have left a deep impression on generations of readers.
As one of the first Vietnamese sent to the former Soviet Union to study, Thuy Toan graduated from Lenin University of Education in Moscow. With a romantic soul he was attracted by Russian verses and had a passion for them. Some people call his passion his “forte”.
Thuy Toan confided: “The greatest thing that I have acquired is not fame. My greatest happiness is that I have been attached to Russian literature, doing what I love and having the ability to do so. Russian literature is like my only true love to which I have devoted my whole life. I have translated poems composed by Puskin, A. Blok, Exenhin, Simonov, Lermontov and others. I have also translated fairy tales and children’s stories. An interesting short story for children is as valuable as an interesting poem by Puskin.” Thuy Toan always shows modesty when he talks about himself. He said: “I am merely a translator among more than 300 Vietnamese translators who are familiar to the readers. Compared to translators of previous generations, I have made a small contribution. I have many contemporaries, who were self-educated with profound knowledge. Young translators have started to become known, both domestically and internationally.”
Thuy Toan thought he was lucky because
among the first people sent abroad by the State to study while the country was at war. He was one of the first translators to receive a membership card of the literature association.
As a translator he is also recognized as a writer, which is an honour for him. Having been
in translating for years he pays much attention to the translation work in the country. He said: “Some countries consider translating one of the four important goals.
These include rewriting history, writing for children and writing for the mass media. Defining the importance of translating, these countries have made an appropriate investment in it. If we have a plan, we
establish a council of translators who are experts in each field.
This council would introduce interesting books of foreign literature to domestic readers and verify the translated versions on the market.” He also said that in some points of view, translating is as important as composing. The translator must have a love for his work and the literature.
Of course, knowing a foreign language is indispensable. Also, the translator must be familiar with the culture, have the habit of working seriously and be diligent in consulting references.
He has always thought that translated literary works serve as a long-standing bridge linking different cultures. To have a good translation of a Russian poem the translator must be conversant in both Russian and Vietnamese. Therefore he is constantly accumulating more knowledge of both languages.
He said: “I translated a poem twice, only two years apart, but the words used in each version are somewhat different. This means none of my translations are perfect, so I still have to enrich my knowledge.”
- Translator Thuy Toan whose real name is Hoang Thuy Toan, was born in 1938. He graduated from the Philology Faculty at Lenin University of
- Now he is President of the Literary Translation Council under the Vietnam Writers’ Association, and Director of the East-West Culture-Language Centre of Vietnam. He has translated and published poetry works by Puskin, Lermonotov, A. Blok, Exenhin and Raxul Gamzatov.
- I have translated poems composed by Puskin, A. blok, Exenhin, Simonov, Lermontov and others. I have also translated fairy tales and children’s stories. An interesting short story for children is as valuable as an interesting poem by Puskin.”
Vietnam insignia awarded to Russian translator
A literature insignia has been awarded to re-nowned Russian translator Inna Zimonina, in recognition of her contributions to promoting Vietnam’s culture to the Russian people.
The insignia was presented by poet Huu Thinh, President of the Vietnam Writers’ Association (VWA) and translator Hoang Thuy Toan, Director of the East-West Culture-Language Centre of Vietnam, at a ceremony in Moscow, Russia, on December 12.
At the event, translator Thuy Toan expressed appreciation for the incessant work by Inna Zimonina to promote Vietnam’s literature to the world, while also strengthening the long-lasting friendship between the two nations.
Zimonina has introduced Russian audiences to many famous Vietnamese works by authors such as Nguyen Minh Chau, Ma Van Khang, Nguyen Khai, Thach Lam, To Hoai and Thanh Giao, Toan noted.
In reply, the awardee expressed her sincere thanks to her Vietnamese colleagues who have supported her over many significant projects.
Zimonina was a student of Prof. Nguyen Tai Can, who is similarly well known for his contributions to reinforcing friendship between Vietnam and Russia.
In 1982, Zimonina was also delivered the Friendship Order by the State of Vietnam.
Translator's memoir inspires readers to overcome adversity